Black & White saturday 6

Since the beginning of the year, I have started shooting again with my Ricoh GRD IV. One of the reasons I mentioned was that I needed to get back to what I know well to help me enjoy the streets again. For several weeks now, things have been going well. I don’t really ask myself any more questions. I take pictures and that’s it. What I realise is that in the end I started shooting with the Ricoh GRD IV again, simply because I love this camera.

I love it because it’s easy to use and I don’t have a thousand questions to ask myself when I need to take a picture. Sunny: f4 ISO 80. Shadow: f2.8 ISO 200. Overcast: f1.9 ISO 400. With rare exceptions, these are the only settings I use. Please note that these are settings that only apply to the Ricoh GRD IV. It has a small sensor … But I think that if I were using another camera, I would also look for the equivalent for these three situations mentioned above. I don’t think you need anything else in street photography. That is, an ideal depth of field with a good shutter speed and a reasonable ISO.

Since the beginning of the year, I had been photographing a lot in colour. Having spent a lot of time documenting the pension reform protests, the subject lent itself well to colour. Even if that’s not all I’ve been doing over the last few months, I’ve kept colour in mind. Here are a few photos.

In the last few weeks, I’ve started shooting in black and white again. Well, in a manner of speaking, because we are no longer in the days of film. I shoot in RAW only and the image I use to frame is in colour. It is during the post processing that the choice is made. Well, that’s not quite true either, because some photos are thought in colour and others in monochrome when they are taken. Leica offers monochrome cameras. Personally, I don’t see the point… Especially since they cost more than equivalent cameras: The Leica Q2 and M11.

It is thus with a monochrome state of mind that I went to make photographs this Saturday in the streets of Saint-Denis. I stayed for an hour in the morning before going to work and I came back at the end of the afternoon when I got off work. I will detail some of them.


This is a photo that was thought up in monochrome. I had started to follow these two religious sisters who were out that Saturday morning. I just wanted to try a composition with a sexy girl who was passing by also dressed in white. The little bonus is the Eye Contact.


A rather simple photo, while I was waiting for the opening of the bookshop. There is an art to take pictures without being spotted. It’s not about being sneaky, it’s about doing everything possible to respect the scene and capture it without interaction as in example #1.


Here, we had to act quickly. I had spotted this cute little girl with her lollipop. It’s tricky to photograph children. It’s even more difficult when it’s a little girl who is also accompanied by her mother. I liked the scene and the only way was for me to shoot blind. This is where you have to know your focal length. It’s quite easy with a 28mm, but it still requires some practice to frame correctly. That is to say neither too close nor too far…


I really like the atmosphere in this picture. I just walked past a shop selling cheap ethnic jewellery and there was this Hindu mask in the window. I just had fun with the sun and the dirty glass.


This opening photo is one of my favourites of the day. The interest lies in the detail of this lady’s hand. A nose-thumbing at the AI that has trouble with hands! Here it is clearly this gesture that caught my eye. I got relatively close to frame, clicked and left, happy to have captured this moment that no one else had to pay attention to…


This last photo is probably my favourite of the day. Several elements fell into place little by little. First, there was the shopping cart on the right. The kid was waiting with his father and brother for the bus. I don’t know why after a while he came and squatted next to the trolley. It was getting interesting. A man came and stood next to him with his cart. As often, I click, but I try to add other elements to make the picture more complex. This gives the following picture. The little boy fits well in the space under the man’s arm and the girl fills the space between the two carts.

All photos were taken with the Ricoh GRD IV.

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6 thoughts on “Black & White saturday

  • John Wilson

    As usual u r so non chalant where as us mere mortals struggle to recreate ur results. Hey if u get chance read about Pentax k3 mono looks like going b less expensive dedicated mono than Leica.

  • Deborah Swain

    Beautiful work as always Jeff – you inspire us to do better! I rarely shoot in B&W in the city now, but occasionally I’ll switch to monochrome if the shot demands it. I LOVE B&W landscape photography though and will set my screen to B&W on the back of my camera to see it that way from the outset.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Hello Deborah, I can’t have the preview in B&W. My camera is too old and it’s already lagging… No need to add this… Landscapes in mono are just awesome. I really like B&W Photography. It’s not being nostalgic but I just find that the photos are more powerful

      • John Harper

        A little late to the party on this post Jeff. I saw it, but decided to wait until I had more time so I could study in depth. Man! You’re such a talent, I know you’ll be modest and shrug it off, but these photos are gold. Well, mid grey in some!

        Black and White just has something, I’m still not sure what it is exactly, but I know I love it. Though it has to be said those colour shots of the protests are sublime. I really like the guy holding out his phone taking a shot and the boys with basketballs. My favourite has to be the opener, I’m drawn to it. Simple on the surface, the more I look at that hand the more complex it becomes. The mask too, it has a gritty feel to it, one that I guess couldn’t be conveyed using colour.

        You’re absolutely right on the monochrome Leica, makes no sense. Years ago I thought I wanted one, thing is once you think logically it becomes pointless. Why not have the option, we all shoot RAW, convert to mono or leave as colour. It would be very limiting from a creative perspective to shoot just in mono. I’m shooting a wedding in a couple of weeks and I’ve been asked to shoot some stills for a movie. It wouldn’t be acceptable to clients to say “only black and white”, they all love it, but want to see colour too.

        • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

          I just feel lucky for these moments. There was a time, not that far from now that I questionned myself about what I was doing in the streets. I thought that I lost my lust for street. I prefered staying at home or waiting in the car reading. I undersftood that I didn’t have to chose. I also told to myself that I didn’t have to force myself to go out and photograph. It took some time to be feel good again on the streets. But I guess that I’m ok now.
          One thing is sure, is that those protest walks reactivated the thing.
          There’s an urge to simplify my process and B&W is the thing. Ok we’re in 2023 and B&W might be considered as juts a trick to give to the photos some interest but like you, B&W has something else to me. Something color will never have. B&W is not simply an instragram filter … It’s hard to explain why I’m drawn to mono. I think it’s because it’s straight to the point. No distraction. Or maybe it’s because I love that golden age of (Street) photography. Anyway if I’m outdated shooting B&W, be it.